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Artificial Intelligence (AI) Technology for Pharma is Changing How the Pharma Industry Works

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

by Kimberly Gregorio | Last Updated: January 24, 2023 | 1 min read

Artificial Intelligence (AI) for pharma sounds very technical and scientific, futuristic even to the ears of ordinary people. We see this thing mostly in sci-fi movies and sometimes in the news where intelligent robots are being featured. These scientific developments on Pharma AI often make one ask where and how these things can be useful. Or if Artificial Intelligence is solely about making smarter robots.

What is Artificial Intelligence (AI)?

By textbook definition1, AI is a sub-field of computer science. Its goal is to enable the development of computers that are able to do things normally done by people. In particular, it's things associated with people acting intelligently. However, AI is divided into three camps where the goals differ through the system advancement the machine is running with. With weak AI, machines don't take on the same level of intelligence as humans. The goal is limited to just getting the job done by the machine. Another AI camp refers to the developments that simulate some basic forms of human intelligence but not targeted at total imitation. For those developers and scientists whose goal is to run systems that think like humans and simulate human cognition, that's strong AI. This system hasn't yet fully been successful in imitating the human mind as much as expected.

AI is beneficial in many different sectors. Some studies have shown its potential advantages not just in technology, but also in education and the business sector. Additionally, AI has proven to provide a massive impact on the healthcare industry. As to everyone’s knowledge, healthcare relies on more than just tips and tricks. More researchers and advancements in technology are needed to improve it, to be able to better cater to the varying healthcare needs of the people. The integration of artificial intelligence into the pharma industry has provided solutions to problems and needs of patients, people in the medical profession, and the entire industry. The list below shows five ways AI has influenced the healthcare industry.

Artificial intelligence (AI) can be categorized into the following types:

Reactive Machines: These are the most basic types of artificial intelligence systems and are purely reactive and have the ability neither to form memories nor to use past experiences to inform current decisions. Some examples of Reactive Machines could be chess–playing on computers and voice-activated virtual assistants like Siri or Alexa. Reactive Machines can't interactively participate in the world, the way we usually think artificial intelligence systems one day might, these machines instead behave precisely the same way every time they encounter the same situation. This can be good to ensure that the artificial intelligence System is trustworthy. These are the simplest artificial intelligence systems and will never be bored, interested or sad.

Limited Memory Artificial Intelligence: These are systems that can store past memories and use that kind of information to make certain decisions in the future. It is also characterized by the ability to absorb specific learning data and improve over a specific period of time based on its experience similar to how the human brain’s neurons connect. A very practical example that can be used here could be self-driving cars. These self-driving cars observe other cars' speed and direction which can't be done in just one moment, but rather requires identifying specific objects and monitoring them over a certain amount of time. It consists of Machine Learning Models that can extract knowledge from previously learned information, facts, stored data, and events.

Theory of Mind Artificial Intelligence: This type of artificial intelligence system has the ability to understand the mental states of other entities, including humans. These types of systems can predict the thoughts, beliefs, and emotions of other entities and use that information to make decisions in the future. The Theory of Mind Artificial Intelligence focuses on individuals whose minds can be shaped/altered by various factors, like having a deep understanding of humans. The Theory of Mind Artificial Intelligence is largely theoretical in nature and is under active research.

Self-Aware Artificial Intelligence: The final type of artificial intelligence is self-aware AI. This will be when machines are not only aware of the emotions and mental states of others, but also their own. When self-aware AI is achieved, we would have artificial intelligence that has human-level consciousness and equal human intelligence with the same needs, desires, and emotions. These are AI systems that not only have the ability to understand the mental states of other entities but also have a sense of their own existence and identity. They can reason about their own thoughts and emotions and use that information to make decisions. This type of AI is also largely theoretical and is an area of active research.

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Virtual Assistance

This is one of the most recognizable technologies incorporating artificial intelligence for pharma. Virtual assistance is already used often. An example would be Apple’s Siri. In the past, people would need to go to the doctor to be able to be correctly diagnosed. For many whom aren't able to see one, they most likely revert to self-assessment, diagnosis, and medication. Thanks to AI, several apps are already available today to help a patient understand their symptoms. The system provides accurate answers to their medical condition. Two of these examples are the following:

Your MD

Medical information given out to its users has been verified and approved by UK’s Health Service (NHS). This means that its users can be assured that they are given authentic and reliable medical information. The app used its large network of information to link the symptoms to the medical condition of its user. Thus, providing more ways to remedy the illness of the user. Additionally, pharma artificial intelligence warns the user when there's a need to see a doctor.

Babylon Health

This health assistant follows up with the user regarding his or her previously reported symptoms. When there's a need for the user to see a doctor, the app sets up a live video with a real doctor.

video conference of doctor

Analysis and Diagnosis

In the past, cancer was usually confirmed after tissues were sent to the laboratory for analysis. This step, would determine whether or not a patient had cancer and its severity. Today, early diagnosis can be done prior to laboratory testing with Pharma AI integrated machines. A machine with this technology is being used in hospitals to give a better CT scan and x-ray results and reading. The high-tech machine from introversion is able to detect suspicious lesions and nodules. This way, doctors are able to give early detection to lung cancer patients. Thus, treatment begins early and creates a better chance for recovery.

Treatment Advancements

Artificial Intelligence for the pharmaceutical industry has opened advancements in healthcare treatments for patients. Advancements in monitoring the treatment and in providing better plans for them. An app called AiCure, assists in reminding the patient to take their medications on time, adhering to the doctor’s advice, and sticking to other treatment routines.

Treatment Plans

In Florida Community Hospital, IBM’s Watson for Oncology will be used to provide cancer care teams with effective treatment plans and therapies. The Pharma AI platform has an advanced ability to analyze structured and unstructured data in clinical notes and reports. An AI algorithm that was launched by IBM is called "The Medical Sieve." It's a cognitive health assistant used in radiology and cardiology. It has the ability to analyze radiology images, detect abnormalities and find problems much faster.

Reduced Costs of Treatment

According to Frost & Sullivan, a research and consulting organization, Pharma AI has the potential to reduce treatment costs by as much as 50%.

happy pharma sales rep using laptop

Pharma Artificial Intelligence technology reduces the risk of human errors in the detection and analysis of a patient’s medical condition. This, reduces the frequency of visits to the doctor. On the other hand, efficient early disease detection helps in reducing the chances of longer hospitalization. Resulting in doctors being able to recommend alternative treatment routes to the patient. In many ways, advancements in AI have opened tremendous improvements in the healthcare industry. It not only helps ease the work of doctors and medical staff, but the lives of patients as well. Although AI still poses risks, as the technology has not yet achieved perfection, the benefits outweigh the risks. Hopefully, through the advancements in the Artificial Intelligence for pharma, communities in remote areas that have limited access to healthcare assistance will be able to gain from its benefits.


1. https://www.computerworld.com/article/2906336/what-is-artificial-intelligence.html